Thursday, May 05, 2005

NORSE SURNAMES. Surname roots - skarf, scarf, scharfe, scharf, cormorant, iron-forger

Finding roots - recreation only. A birth name, Scharfe, with connections to the Shetlands and Iceland. See this fair-use quote (the whole thing is very long) at Do a search there for skarf. We had thought the name was somehow Irish, because in 1840, a Scharf pair (the e was later added for the convenience of the post office in Ottawa, Canada, to keep the households separate) came to Canada from Kilkenny.

"Scarff.Dr. Vigfusson suggests this name is probably derived (O.N.) skarð, ' a mountain . Then there is a reference to "see Gill"

SKARF is common in local names in Iceland, and we find scarf-gap in Cumberland, so that the surname may have been taken from one of the places so called. Other possible derivations are from skarði, 'hare-lip,' a nickname which was a frequent Danish proper name on Runic stones, or from skarf, 'a cormorant' which is used as a nickname in the Landndmaboc. The cormorant is still called the Scarf' in the Shetlands. SCHARF is found in the Hundred Rolls.

The name is now far less common.

MacSkerffe [1408], Skerf [1417], MacSkarff [1511], Scarff [1620]." [add Scaife? looks similar]

And another: ://

"45. This word Skard occurs often in the Book of Settlement and is worthy of special note as entering into the origin of many place names. Skard, as a common noun, means (1) a notch or chink in the edge of a thing, (2) a mountain pass, as in the phrase 'vestr yfir skordin' = west over the mountain passes; with this meaning it is used of the place names in the text, and also as the origin of many names in Iceland, e.g., Skard, Skord, Skardverjar = the men from Scard, Skardaleid = the way through Skard or the mountain pass (compare Scarf Gap, a pass in Cumberland). Skardsheidr, Skardsstrond, Vatnsdal's Skard, Ljosavatns Skard, Kerlingar Skard, Haukadale Skard, Geita Skard."

These quoted references are a small portion of the whole, so are fair use. If you disagree, let me know - not looking for difficulties and copyright is impossible to fathom.

For the Norse heading to Ireland, see